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Physicians hesitant about health apps

Physicians simply aren’t early adopters of technology — the slow adoption of electronic health records is one good example of that. So it’s no surprise that most doctors haven’t prescribed mobile apps for their patients.

Or maybe it comes as a surprise that 37 percent have prescribed one. In any case, that’s what a study done by QuantiaMD, a physician social learning network, turned up. The study’s results paint a picture of physicians varying widely not only in their use of apps but even in their awareness of them.

For instance, the study, done in two parts, revealed a wide split in app prescription. When QuantiaMD asked 1,500 docs if they had prescribed one, 37 percent said yes, and 42 percent said they wouldn’t do it, citing various reasons.

In a smaller poll of 250 physicians, QuantiaMD discovered the following information:

  • Forty-two percent won’t prescribe apps because there is no regulatory oversight of them.
  • Thirty-seven percent have no idea what apps are out there.
  • Twenty-one percent never recommend apps to patients.
  • Twenty-one percent won’t prescribe apps because there’s no longitudinal data on apps’ effectiveness.
  • Another 21 percent won’t prescribe apps because it would generate an overwhelming amount of patient data.

“When a prescription drug goes generic, it has at least seven years of data about its effectiveness and safety, which gives physicians assurance that patients can use it for self-care. Medical apps have no history of either effectiveness or safety,” said Mike Paskavitz, Editor-in-Chief, Quantia, Inc.

“It’s important to note that physicians are still split in opinion on whether they should ‘prescribe’ medical apps to their patients — the main reason being the lack of regulation, especially as the movement to enable self-care is advanced through tools such as medical apps.”

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